VaEtchanan: An Extra And

July 27, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Shamor v’Zachor b’dibur echad". This phrase, sung every Friday night, notes the most famous difference between the recording of the aseret hadibrot in parshat Yitro, where we are commanded to “remember, zachor, the Shabbat” and Moshe's recounting of the events 40 years later, where we are commanded to “guard, shamor, the Shabbat...
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VaEtchanan: The People and Moshe

August 04, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“At that time I pleaded with G-d, saying, ‘O G-d, Lord…please let me cross the Jordan. Let me see the good land across the Jordan, the good mountain’”(Devarim 3:23-25). Moshe Rabbeinu had not yet given up his hope to enter the land of Israel. He pleaded, prayed, cajoled, negotiated, just so he could enter the Holy Land any which way, even as a foot soldier in Joshua's army. If only we had one iota of the depth...
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VaEtchanan: World Leaders

August 19, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
  Attempts to understand the rationale behind the mitzvoth of the Torah have generated much debate and discussion through the millennia. Many have feared that the search for answers is irrelevant at best, and possibly even outright dangerous. What reason other than the Divine command does anyone need?    No less a person than Shlomo Hamelech was led astray by this error, as he incorrectly assumed that he completely understood...
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VaEtchanan: Seeking Comfort

July 31, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Our Sages ordained that we should read parshat VaEtchanan on the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av. As they phrased it, “zumu v’tzlu, fast and pray”. On Tisha B’Av we fast, but we cannot pray. We can say words, but not words of prayer. “Though I cry to Him, He has blocked my prayer” (Eicha 3:8). Only after Tisha B’Av can we read of Moshe beseeching G-d to enter the Land of Israel. Only...
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Vaetchanan: Loving G-d

August 10, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
Jews of faith, when faced with imminent death, have departed this world with the words of the shma on their lips. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the tragic death of Rabbi Akiva, one of the ten martyrs we read about on Tisha b'Av. As he was being tortured by the Romans, Rabbi Akiva gained a measure of comfort as he could now literally fulfil the mandate, "'and you shall love the Lord, your G-d, with all...
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